Meet the Maker - Gemma Atwell

Thursday, August 08, 2013
Today we are super delighted to introduce Bath based jeweller, Gemma Atwell, here is a little more about her...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
So, this is me, Gemma of The Silver Shed, basically a girl with a shed, a jewellers bench and a tendency to get distracted by shiny objects.  I always knew I wanted to create and a few years back discovered I had a passion for working in precious metals to produce pieces of wearable art.  I use mostly traditional jewellery making techniques to produce whimsical artisan silver and gold pieces of jewellery. 

Apart from creating things what else do you enjoy doing? 
Living in a city like Bath means that I am spoilt by my surroundings,the things I love to do most are wander around and take it all in. I like to stroll through the cities backstreets and soak up the history of the place, dig around in the vintage shops and quirky boutiques, or grab a cuppa and simply people watch whilst listening to the brilliant Bath buskers. I also love to walk out into the Somerset countryside to forage and look for inspiration. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
Most of my work is inspired by my surroundings, places I visit and a love of folklore and fairy tales. The swashbuckling stories I heard as a child have stayed with me and I like to think my jewellery helps you remember those fanciful childhood dreams. I love typography and add writing to my work wherever I can, so I am always noting lines of songs and literature that stand out to me. 

Describe your studio or workspace? 
When I say I have a shed to work in I am lying a little, it is actually a summer house that really is my sanctuary where I can design, forge and package my way through the day. I have my bench by the window underneath which I have planted calming lavender, the bees in summer love it, as do I. On the opposite wall to my jewellers bench is my design and packaging station, the desk is my old school desk from when I was little (my mum salvaged it when the school updated all their furniture).  I also have a daybed in there where I can sit quietly with a cup of tea and a bun when needed and look through the many design and sketch books I have collected. 

What is a typical work day for you? 
My day usually begins with a little computer work, checking emails, sorting out which orders or stock I need to make and when I can, updating my shop blog 'typically.pretty.english'. I will then head to my studio and work on whichever projects I have on the go, and if needed package up pieces and do a post office run. All of this is done on many cups of tea. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
I think it is the alchemy of my chosen medium, it never fails to fascinate me that the same processes have been used for thousands of years to turn some blackened, beaten metal into a beautiful piece of precious jewellery. It is also often a piece of jewellery that has such a special meaning to its wearer. 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be? 
Cornwall is like a second home to me and I would have loved to have seen Alfred Wallis work in St.Ives. The fact that he was an old fisherman that just used to paint his naive pictures on any surface he could find appeals to me. The workshops of the Newlyn artists and craftsmen would also have been good snooping ground I think. 

Which local artist/maker do you most admire? 
I love the work of Bath artist Nicky Snow, I have several of her prints. 

Tell us your current loves: 
* Shop - Found, Bath 
* Restaurant / CafĂ© - The Velo Lounge, Bath 
* Magazine - The Simple Things 
* Book - any Daphne du Maurier 
* Designer / maker / artist-jeweller Vicki Ambery-Smith 

If you were stranded in the wilds somewhere, what item would you need with you the most? 
If you have read this far surely you realise that I can't live without tea, so I'm not going to cope in the wilds without it!

Thank you Gemma, such a lovely insight into your working world.  You can find Gemma's stunning silver work in our SUMMER Paper Scissors Stone shop.

Paper Scissors Stone
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

Opens Daily:
Mon - Sat:  10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

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